“It is clear the murder was driven by Islamophobia and racism”

Trigger Warning: violence, murder, islamaphobia

1st July – it was this very date – a beautiful Egyptian woman named Marwa al Sherbini died. She was murdered; murdered whilst she was 3 months pregnant, whist her killer barked ‘you have no right to live’.
Marwa al-Sherbini was a Muslim woman who wore the headscarf and was stabbed 18 times in the space of 30 seconds in a Dresden courtroom. It is clear the murder was driven by Islamophobia and racism. The German man, Alexandre W, called her a ‘Muslim bitch and a terrorist whore’, yet the German media believe it was a ‘Murder over quarrel over swing’.
Now you may wonder what Marwa was doing in the courtroom in the first place. The courtroom where she was killed, stabbed and had her life stolen. Al-Sherbini had opened a case to sue the man that would later kill her, after he insulted and verbally threatened her in a public park, calling her an ‘Islamist and terrorist whore’.
It was during the trial that Alexandre W jumped over and stabbed her continuously, shouting ‘you have no right to live’, until every breath was snatched from her. People often forget that when one person dies, they don’t die alone. Parts of their family and friends leave as well. Marwa Al-Sherbini’s boy will never forget the death of his mother. The 3 year old was sat in the very same room as he witnessed the cold, brutal death of his mother. Her husband was injured both physically and psychologically; shot and brutally wounded, he now defines himself as a widower and a father who lost an unborn child. Alexandre W’s attack may have been an Islamophobic act to ‘show her her place’, but what it really did was destroy lives. It destroyed her husband’s life and it destroyed her son’s life. But what’s more, it destroyed a family who did nothing but have the heritage of being a Muslim. Imagine being that 3 year old boy, seeing your mother die in front of you, and then your father slips into a coma? He had no one to hug, no one to comfort him; no one to hold him firmly and whisper ‘Everything is going to be alright’. An Islamophobic determined his life.
Islamophobia has become a problem. It’s an issue accelerated by a lack of understanding by non-Muslims, so the effect of tackling it will be stronger if it is aimed at and tackled by non-Muslims. There were very few people in Germany at the time who defined this incident as an act of Islamophobia. Often people have the stereotype that Muslims and Jews hate each other. Really, are you that naïve? It was Stephan Kramer, the Secretary General of the German Jewish Council, one of the very few persons who described the murder as motivated by Islamophobia. The media today are the most powerful tool. But they are being powered wrong. All over our TVs we see terrorist bearded men and the name of Muslims being marked as ‘evil, dark and bombers’, but they forget one thing. I won’t deny that there are people like this, and it’s important to tackle them: but they’re less than 5% of the Muslim population. There are 6.9 billion Muslims in the world today; you really think they’re all killers who waste time on bombs? The media tend to focus on these attacks of a few Muslims rather than those that affect thousands of Muslims. Everyday an Islamophobic attack takes place and no person cares about it. I wonder how many new channels pay tribute to Marwa al-Sherbini today?
The fight against Islamophobia still continues, and nothing is going to happen unless the issue is taken seriously. The German authorities continue to disregard the rise of Islamophobia and prejudice towards women who wear the headscarf. Over half of Germany’s states ban women teachers and civil servants from wearing the headscarf which is widely seen as a sign of ‘holding onto one’s own culture’ and a ‘refusal to integrate’. There are probably many women who are attacked and discriminated against due to religious clothing, however do not report any attacks. It was Marwa al-Sherbini who did and decided to fight back, not only as a Muslim but as a woman as well. May she be granted heaven.
No progress is going to be made unless the increasing anti-Islamic and racist climates in society are toned down. This atmosphere has now become a norm, which almost defines our culture and world we live in.
Maybe the media should spend less time perpetuating Islamophobia, and more time educating people about what is really happening. Marwa al-Sherbini was an educated professional pharmacist, mother, wife and Muslim woman who, like anyone else, wanted a good life in a productive country. Yet people like Alexandre W cannot see beyond the teachings of his TV screen, to decide to end a life he has no right to.
Islamophobia does KILL, and this is not the first time.

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